[Marxism] Re: Stalinism and the 1913 pamphlet on the national question

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Dec 23 11:31:19 MST 2006

David W. wrote:
>Joaquin is correct that it didn't deal with imperialism. He is correct, that's
>because "imperialism" as we've grow to learn and fear in it's current
>manifestation, was little known to the totally Euro-American social democracy.

Actually, it was well known except that there 
were differences how to regard it. Eduard 
Bernstein favored colonialism and imperialism 
because it brought "civilization" to peoples 
still living under precapitalist social 
relations. He was challenged by both Rosa 
Luxemburg and Belfort Bax thoughout the 1880s and 90's.

E. Belfort Bax
Imperialism v. Socialism
(February 1885)

We seem at, the present time to have arrived at 
the acute stage of the colonial fever which 
during the last three or four years has afflicted 
the various powers of Europe. Germany is vying 
with France, England with both, in the haste to 
seize upon “unoccupied” countries, and to 
establish “protectorates” – the cant diplomatic 
for incomplete annexation – over uncivilised 
peoples. “The rivalry among the nations for their 
share of the world market” (to quote the words of 
our manifesto) must now, one would think, have 
discovered itself to even the casual newspaper 
reader as the only meaning the terms “diplomacy” 
and “foreign policy” any longer possess. The 
jealousy between the courts of Europe, once the 
sole and until recently the main cause of 
national enmity and war, has in our day been 
superseded by the jealousy between the great 
capitalists of its various nationalities. The 
flunkey-patriot, zealous of his country’s honour, 
dances as readily to-day to the pipe of 
capitalist greed as he did before to that of 
royal intrigue, let it but sound the note of 
race-hatred. In both cases he makes the running 
for the interested parties. But where the 
interested party is the wealthiest and most 
powerful class, able to pay for “patriotic” 
articles by the yard, and “patriotic” speeches by 
the hour, “patriotism” is apt to assume the form 
of a chronic disease. Such it is, to-day, and, as 
such mocks the futile efforts of the well-meaning 
but singularly ingenuous clique of middle-class 
philanthropists, who are naive enough to take the 
governmental ring at its word when it pretends 
its only object in undertaking “expeditions” to 
be the rescue of “Christian heroes” or the relief 
of garrisons which have no right to be in a 
position to want relieving. War, jingoism – 
otherwise patriotism – are indeed past cure while 
the economic basis of society remains 
unchallenged, but only so far; and hence we call 
on all sincere friends of peace to leave their 
tinkering “peace societies” and work for 
Socialism, remembering that all commercial wars – 
and what modern wars are not directly or 
indirectly commercial? – are the necessary 
outcome of the dominant civilisation. We conjure 
them to reflect that such wars must necessarily 
increase in proportion to the concentration of 
capital in private hands – i.e., in proportion as 
the commercial activity of the world is 
intensified, and the need for markets becomes 
more pressing. Markets, markets, markets! Who 
shall deny that this is the drone-bass ever 
welling up from beneath the shrill howling of 
“pioneers of civilisation”, “avengers of national 
honour,” “purveyors of gospel light,” “restorers 
of order;” in short, beneath the hundred and one 
cuckoo cries with which the “market classes” seek 
to smother it or to vary its monotony? It seems 
well-nigh impossible there can be men so blind as 
not to see through these sickening hypocrisies of 
the governing classes, so thin as they are.

full: http://www.marxists.org/archive/bax/1885/02/imperialism.htm 

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